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Improving your listening skills

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Improving your listening skills

Postby 海賊狩り » Thu 08.23.2012 5:17 am

What do you reckon is the best way to improve your listening skills? Some say it's a matter of vocabulary, meaning the most words you know the more you'll be able to understand from an audio segment. Others imply that it's all about building a language "sensor", which ultimately leads to thinking in Japanese, thus not trying to translate what you hear in your mother language and guessing words you don't hear clearly based on what you expect to hear.
What is your way of improving your listening skills? I 've heard that finding japanese dub/japanese sub animes or movies really helps as you can simultaneously hear and read what's being said is one of the best things you can do, though japanese subs are scarce and difficult to find.
Please be so kind to correct any errors I make while writing in Japanese.
I'll greatly appreciate it!
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby Joey 鷹 Vega » Thu 08.23.2012 9:51 am

I watch anime subs and j-drama subs, but I cover/hide the subs so that I don't need to depend on them on what they are saying. And yes, I think it's about knowing all the words that are used in Japanese. Plus, translating in your head of what they are saying is not the best way cause that will slow you down and miss most of the words when they are done talking. In my way of my listening skills is to listen in Japanese-Japanese and not Japanese-english/Spanish etc. (on languages). You have to hear Japanese very carefully as we do in our native language, let Japanese be your native language instead of the native language you have right now.
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby 海賊狩り » Sat 08.25.2012 2:07 pm

Where do you find Japanese subs? I find it almost impossible to track any.

I as a beginner find it very difficult to follow Japanese conversations without subs. Maybe there are courses which help? I've started recently the "Mastering Japanese by Ear" book and although it's still early I can say it's helped quite a bit. The biggest problem is trying to keep up with the whole sentence grammatical structure rather than picking up various words. Plus if you don't understand the grammatical or syntax structure you won't be able distinguish words due to various conjugations or pre/suffixes.
Please be so kind to correct any errors I make while writing in Japanese.
I'll greatly appreciate it!
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby Antenshi » Sat 08.25.2012 7:38 pm

This is actually something I had tons of trouble with when I first got into learning languages, which started with spanish. I find the best way to get better at listening is to:

A: Have a grip on the language.
If you don't know the sentence structure, grammar points, and at least some of the vocabulary, you're not going to be able to understand it.

B: "When in rome, do as romans do".
Don't think about the sentence in english, don't try and over-complicate it by trying to quickly translate it, just try and understand it. "Joey 鷹 Vega" summed this up pretty well, and it's great advice.

C: Know all of the grammar points.
I read somewhere, this little passage: "If you have the chance to learn 10 vocabulary words, or one Kanji, learn the kanji. If you have the chance to learn 10 Kanji, or one grammar point, learn the grammar point.", and it's incredibly true. Learn all the minor points of a language and how they all function, and the rest will eventually come, normally very easily if you make learning the language a priority.

If you want to find japanese sub movies, there are certain websites on the internet that host a large amount of them, I know of one, but the movies are mostly BL :sweatdrop:
Anime is a great outlet for japanese-subs, much more than movies, but I can understand if you don't like watching it, not all too many do. Although, there is quite a large variety of them, so you might just find one you like if you look deep enough.
As for movies, you could probably download japanese-subbed movie torrents from thepiratebay, you can trust it as long as it has a large number of seeds. If it only has a few, or most of the comments say it's a virus, don't download it :?
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby 海賊狩り » Sun 08.26.2012 6:49 am

Thank you for your help, I guess the key is keep practicing having in mind what you both said. :D Thank God the anime kingdom is vast, a Japanese learner shouldn't have a problem practicing this way.

For everyone reading the topic I should just point a problem raised many times by future japanese learners who practice through animes. Most of the sites of online streaming might not have japanese dubbed animes, especially for older ones like YuuGiOu or Digimon. They will stream only english dubbed episodes.
The way around this is finding a site that acts as a "link collector", meaning that it has a, compared to others who only have one or two alternative mirror links, extensive collection of alternative links both jap and eng dubbed, for a single episode of an anime. I've recently found one but I don't know if I am allowed to share it in this site. Joey 鷹 Vega also found a trully phenomenal japanese casual series/movies streaming site for those not liking anime's, so if a moderator sees this message please respond as to whether we can post the urls and I'll add them here.
Please be so kind to correct any errors I make while writing in Japanese.
I'll greatly appreciate it!
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby richvh » Tue 08.28.2012 12:07 am

No links to pirate sites.
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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby berean_315 » Wed 08.29.2012 2:28 pm

This is something I am trying to do mostly. I don't have much opportunity to speak Japanese and really don't have that big of an interest in speaking. I mostly read and listen.

The listening is getting better, but is a slow process. It seems now the problem is lack of vocabulary and the speed at which it is spoken. I get stuck on not knowing a word that has been spoken, and it throws me off and then have to try to pick back up. I think the only way to improve is to constantly hear spoken Japanese even if you don't understand everything. You start getting a feel for the flow of the spoken language. If you think about it that's how a native person learned over time. I remember as a kid here in the US seeing the news my parents would watch and not understand a lot of it.

I try to watch/listen to things that I have an interest in. I watch a little anime, but not a lot. Mostly short news clips that have the translation and listening to the Bible in Japanese and sermons in Japanese. Listening to the Bible in Japanese works for me because I'm familiar with the stories in English so it makes understanding what is being talked about easier. I understand this is not everybody's cup of tea though. If you're interested in Buddhism, Sumo, J-POP, Anime, etc. then find those things that really interest you and listen to podcasts, videos, etc.

One thing about subtitles. Now I feel subtitles can be a hindrance because of the word order of the languages. When I read the subtitle in English (with the verb coming first) and listen to the Japanese (with the verb at the end) it throws things off. Now I'm trying to listen to Japanese audio or video without subtitles. Subtitles do help me if there is enough time to read the English before the Japanese is spoken, but that doesn't happen a lot.

Also there are Bible messages delivered in English with the Japanese translation afterward and vice versa which I sometimes listen to. I find these good practice as well.

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Re: Improving your listening skills

Postby baskerville » Fri 04.26.2013 10:46 am

Hi Gerald. Where can I find Bible verses in Japanese? Like you, I am already familiar with the stories in the Bible and would love to listen to them in English. Someone also posted a link to an online Japanese-English Bible, which is very very useful too.
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